Texas Proposition Four: 50/50 Raffles At Dallas Stars And Other Texas Professional Sporting Events

What is Proposition Four and how does it impact the Stars?

Editorial Note: Proposition 4 passed. If you are looking to find out how it could impact sporting events in Texas we have you covered.

Texans will go vote on November 3rd. One of the ballot initiatives is Proposition 4. Proposition 4 was introduced byRep. Charlie Geren on behalf of the Texas Rangers. The bill would allow charitable organizations belonging to professional sports teams to hold 50/50 raffles at their home games in Texas.

This post is intended to be informational only. In no way are we supporting any political measure or attempting to influence your vote should you choose to cast it. This bill does impact the Dallas Stars and Dallas Stars Foundation, and as a website specifically covering the Dallas Stars, it is relevant to what we have going on.

A 50/50 raffle is a raffle where half of the raised money goes as a cash prize to a raffle winner with the other half going to the charity. Current Texas law allows teams to conduct two raffles per year. If this passes teams will have more opportunities to raise money for their foundations and potentially do more good things for the community.

I spoke to Dallas Stars Chief Financial Officer Jason Farris about the proposed measure and what kind of impact he sees it having on the Dallas Stars Foundation and the game-day experience.

"Raffles are a big part of hockey, and sports, culture in Canada", and the goal here is to "cut down on the churn of the foundation," Farris said, which will help them have a more consistent revenue stream. The Foundation currently. has "10-14 core partners," and the passage of this bill will help the Stars forge "much stronger connections" with these groups.

The way this would impact game days, as explained to me, is that people 18 years old or older who purchase tickets would be able to go to a kiosk or game-day staff with a handheld device and purchase raffle tickets. No prices have been set, but Farris pointed out that "you can usually buy five tickets for $2 or ten tickets for $5" each with an eight digit code as proof of your ticket. The winner(s) would be drawn at some point later in the game. and half of the money taken would be given away in prizes.

To further strengthen these connections, the Stars would be able to hold nights specifically for each of their core partners where they could promote their causes.

The bill is supported by all ten professional sports teams across the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, and MLS in Texas and five Republican legislators. In voting to decide whether it should go on the ballot or not, the state House voted 193-7 and the state Senate voted 27-4 to put this on the ballot.

Opposition was minimal in the government, but there is opposition to the bill. In their editorial endorsing the bill the Star-Telegram pointed at one possible downside of the bill:

Yes, the foundations are a goodwill gesture that help private sports team owners promote community relations. But the charities also do plenty of good work, and the community is better off with sports teams and athletes raising more money for local causes.

If team owners also sustain their current levels of personal charity support, the raffles will be a great gain for the community.

But if owners depend on raffle proceeds to sustain foundations and neglect their own personal responsibility to give back to the communities that support the teams, Texans will regret the amendment.

That has not been the case in other states, where charities have raised up to $50,000 in a single game.

This is an opportunity to raise more money for these charities, but if any of these owners limit their contributions in the wake of its passage the impact would be smaller. It does go on to point out that this hasn't been the case in states where this is legal.

The other main source of opposition is the anti-gambling group. This does loosen gambling laws in Texas and there are opposition groups who feel like this bill is a gateway to further gambling in Texas in the future.

Rodger Weems, board chair of Stop Predatory Texas Gambling:

We see other things coming down the road. The constitutional amendment opens the door.

The House Research Organization provided both supporting and opposing views for consideration. This is from their opposing view:

With every amendment to the Constitution, people come up with new ways to push the limits of what is allowed under the laws it authorizes. Some gambling games and machines exist today because they are protected by technicalities in the law or because they simply are not being regulated. Opening the Constitution to even more interpretation and flexibility could allow the enactment of future legislation that was never intended by this proposal, such as electronic raffles at race tracks or bingo halls. This proposed amendment could open the door to forms of gambling more serious than charitable raffles.

However you want to vote is your thing, but I know when I go to vote I rarely feel informed enough about minor measures to adequately give an opinion. This bill should help the Dallas Stars Foundation raise more money at the cost of loosening the laws against gambling which, some feel, opens the door for more serious gambling laws to be passed in the future.

Regardless of how you vote or feel about the measure, hopefully we're all a bit more informed about what the measure actually means.

Information was pulled from ballotpedia.org. You can find out more here should you be interested to do so.